"On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five..."
April 18, 2001 7:47 PM   Subscribe

"On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five..." Paul Revere never made it to Concord. At two by the village clock he was just being released near Lexington. I'm sure Longfellow's factual slip is what kept this poem out of The Oxford Book of American Verse.
posted by dfowler (4 comments total)
Try to imagine a world, if you will, without mass communication, without even complex distance communication. Then remember that Revere's ride is a featured exmaple in Malcolm Gladwell's book the Tipping Point. As summarized: Revere and Dawes both rode that night, but Revere knew the right people to contact and Dawes did not. As a result, Revere outstripped Dawes at recruiting for the militia action that morning ... and ensured his place in history.

In another aspect of the tipping point phenomenon, it seems to me this is the exact moment when the protest became a revolution. No, not the obvious part about using guns. This is the moment when the colonials began to exploit their advantages in local organization. Had they acted less effectively, had Revere contacted fewer men, had the troops caught the riders in Boston ... then these two leaders might have been arrested and the revolution nipped in the bud.
posted by dhartung at 12:17 AM on April 19, 2001

Nice. good conjecture. it could stand. The billies detained Revere but re- leased him. The momentum of the revolution was already in full swing. Apr. 20 (Everyones favorite day) is the "guns" part of conflict .
posted by clavdivs at 12:33 AM on April 19, 2001

Thanks for the map link. I've always had trouble visualizing the routes.
posted by darren at 5:47 AM on April 19, 2001

Revere and Dawes notwithstanding, the British troops marched to Concord to forcibly disarm the local militia. The battle at Concord would have likely been fought anyway, as well as the bloody retreat. Whether the locals in Lexington and Arlington (Menotomy) would have had as much help from the men who poured in from the surrounding towns is probably a function of the success of Dawes, but the revolution had begun in earnest with or without the riders.
posted by briank at 6:30 AM on April 19, 2001

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